Municipal liquor stores exist to promote moderation and control in the sale and use of alcohol, working to keep it out of the hands of minors, while simultaneously generating income for the communities they serve. Profits are returned to taxpayers through levy reductions.
North Branch Liquors provides employment to 19 individuals. Three are full-time positions with the remainder all being part-time.
At the start of the pandemic, liquor stores were deemed an essential business so our stores have remained open throughout all the closures, stay at home mandates, etc. Four employees chose not to work due to health risks. The remaining staff picked up the slack and no one called in sick during the March thru May madness. We even started our curbside pickup service and delivery service by the end of March, which added to the workload they were already carrying.
Store staff continued to come to work each day, and we received many compliments over that time about how nice it is to come into a retail store and encounter such friendly and happy exchanges with our staff. We are very proud of their dedication and determination to attempt providing the same great customer service we have always delivered with the restrictions that were placed on them regarding contact with the public, with the added need for ongoing sanitizing. We are very proud of our liquor operation staff!
Sales continue to be up over last year, even with the partial reopening of bars and restaurants. Total gross sales are up significantly over last year. But we are grateful that our bar & restaurant partners were able to get back to work!
Supporting the community is a major component of our mission. Several fundraisers are conducted in the stores each year which include ongoing food shelf cash donations every month, a bigger food shelf drive in October, Pet Shelter fundraiser, Support Our Troops Fund Drive (with active duty military & veteran discounts every day), and our Fire Department Fundraiser which is currently going on at both locations and runs through Sept. 11, 2020. Tuesdays are senior discount day, and our Wine and Pub Club Memberships offer discounts every day on qualifying products.
The semi-annual Wine, Beer and Spirits tasting that are normally held during Winter Fest and Fall Harvest Festival is a collaborative effort between the Chamber and the liquor stores. Store vendors volunteer their time and product to pour for attendees. In return, tasting attendees are offered discounted pricing at North Branch Liquors on any products that were poured.